Death toll of Turkish soldiers killed in Syria in February alone reaches 53

A Turkish soldier walks near Turkish military vehicles in Hazano near Idlib. (Reuters)

The latest casualties bring to 53 the number of Turkish troops killed in Syria this month alone after 33 soldiers were killed on Thursday in the battleground northwestern province of Idlib.

Turkey reprised and killed 20 Syrian soldiers later on Friday with drone and artillery strikes hitting Syrian army positions in southern and eastern parts of the province which were recaptured by the government in a nearly three-month-old offensive against the enclave, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

At least 16 regime fighters died in those strikes, while another four were killed by artillery fire on positions in neighboring Aleppo province, the Observatory added.

Also on Friday in Idlib, four members of a single family, two of them children, were killed in airstrikes, according to the Britain-based monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

There was no immediate confirmation from Damascus of the reported troop deaths or any comment on the flare-up with Ankara that prompted NATO to call an urgent meeting of its ruling council.

The alliance later Friday offered solidarity and support to Turkey but no pledges of concrete new measures to defend Ankara’s forces.

Turkey had said it retaliated “from the air and ground” for the deaths of the 33 soldiers, Ankara’s biggest single loss of personnel by far since it launched its intervention in Syria in 2016.

The deadly strike comes after weeks of growing tension between Turkey and Russia – the main foreign brokers in the Syrian conflict.

Last Update: 15:23 KSA 18:23 - GMT 15:23